Total industrial production increased 1.4 percent in May, as many factories resumed at least partial operations following suspensions related to COVID-19. Even so, total industrial production in May was 15.4 percent below its pre-pandemic level in February. Manufacturing output—which fell sharply in March and April—rose 3.8 percent in May; most major industries posted increases, with the largest gain registered by motor vehicles and parts. The indexes for mining and utilities declined 6.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. At 92.6 percent of its 2012 average, the level of total industrial production was 15.3 percent lower in May than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.8 percentage point to 64.8 percent in May, a rate that is 15.0 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average and 1.9 percentage points below its trough during the Great Recession.
This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up slightly from the record low set last month, and still below the trough of the Great Recession (the series starts in 1967).
Capacity utilization at 64.8% is 15.0% below the average from 1972 to 2017.
Note: y-axis doesn’t start at zero to better show the change.
Industrial production increased in May to 92.6. This is 6.3% above the Great Recession low.
The change in industrial production was below consensus expectations.